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BBQ Smokers

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by TheCowboy, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    If you don't like lighter fluid check out the weber charcoal chimney starter, it's a life changer for getting a hot bed of coals going quickly.

    Using lump charcoal instead of briquettes accomplishes the same thing you are trying to do as well.

    Jimmy you sound like my kind of guy. Multiple pits/BBQs for eery occasion.

    I've got an offset smoker that I use when I'm really looking to spend a lot of time doing things right. I also have a 27" Weber Kettle. I use that whenever I can for burgers/dogs/steaks/chicken. I've turned out some great ribs and fantastic smoked tritip on that thing as well. It's roomy enough tat you can get a low fire going with some soaked wood chips for smoke and cook things nice and slow on it.

    My weber gas grill sees the most use, like you, due to convenience. I love it though and I've cooked anything and everything on it, and it's reliable and durable.

    I would highly recommend (as I have in the past) that anyone looking to get into smoking/BBQ get a Weber smokey mountain. It's a great and cost effective way to get into smoking and if it's not your thing, you're not out a ton of dough. If it is your thing, it makes a great backup smoker.
  2. Jammer

    Jammer Retired Air Force Guy Zone Supporter

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    I agree electric will get you laughed at around "purists" but it wasn't that long ago when gas grills were scorned by just about everybody for grilling or BBQ. I'm not smoking for competitions or anything like that. I just want good BBQ and my electric smoker does just fine. If I don't tell anybody how I cooked my meat nobody has ever said it tasted "fake" People rave about my pork and poultry (I don't smoke beef, long story). As I mentioned, I don't have time to babysit a smoker to ensure the temp stays good.
  3. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    This is what it's about right here. If you're happy and the people you are cooking for are happy, that's all that matters.
  4. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler Zone Supporter

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    I do use that starter if we doing simple steaks/burgers and want that charcoal grill instead of gas. It does work well but I still insist on smoking with only wood, set in my ways, heh.
  5. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    So I bought a Brinkmann Smoke 'N Pit for $170 today at Home Depot. It's a really decent sized smoker for the price. I was surprised. It was a huge pain to actually put it together. I hope it works out fine but some parts of the side burner aren't screwed in 100% but really good enough I think. I can see very little light through the box but that still kind of worries me.

    I have a couple questions for you BBQ masters.

    How much charcoal (or wood) do you add to get to your desired temperature? Such as 200 degrees for 5 hours, how much does that equal in terms of the amount of wood and coal? Whats the best way to maintain temperatures?
  6. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    Every pit is different. The Brinkmans are not high quality construction and will probably require more charcoal to keep a consistent temp. You control the temp by controlling the airflow. Too cool things down, you close down the vents bit by bit until you get to the desired temp. To heat things up, open up the vents. Always do it in small increments until you get a feel for the cooker. Not sure how big your smoker is but if you're using charcoal, a half chimney of lit charcoal on top of a half chimney of unlit should get you going. The reason for using lit/ and unlit is so the coals dont burn out all at once. Add wood soaked in water to keep a nice level of smoke going.
    TheCowboy likes this.
  7. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    Good tips. Can I heat the charcoal right in the offset box? Will it ruin it? Or should I do it somewhere else? I also read lump charcoal is better than the other charcoal but I don't have any.
  8. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler Zone Supporter

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    Depends on what your cooking. If smoking, put wood in side-box. If doing steaks, burgers, etc, put coal directly under them.
  9. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    It's not going to hurt it to get the coals going in the offset box. Lump vs. briquettes comes down to preference and availability. Each has benefits. I do prefer lump, but I've gotten perfectly good results using briquettes. Stay away from lighter fluid or and 'match-light'/'easy-light' style briquettes where they have some sort of petroleum in them to help them light quicker. That stuff is going to leave all sorts of residues on your food that you don't want for a variety of reasons.
  10. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    First time I have ever used a smoker. Here is my end result: [IMG]

    Some notes about the first smoke:
    1. Used SO MUCH charcoal. It was so hard and nearly impossible to get it above 200. That is, according to the built in thermometer. I don't trust it and I need a change to that.
    2. When the coals burnt all I had left was wood and I used three woods (ENTIRE BAGS) of Mesquite, Hickory, and Apple Wood. I used nearly 14 lbs of coals and still struggled to get to 200.
    3, Very nice smoke ring, but heavy smoke flavor. I really didn't like the taste of it. It was maybe too strong but it went just OK with some BBQ sauce.
    4. I will NEVER smoke another Pork Butt. It's all fat and again I didn't like the flavor of this too much. Was a pain to carve too. I'll stick to beef now. I want something less fatty. Plus takes a long time (had to get up at 5 AM!!)
    5. It was cooking for nearly 8 hours. I had an internal thermometer in each Butt and it got to about 190 degrees but still didn't seem cooked. I am very unlucky when it comes to temperatures.

    The guy at the meat market said this was the best option for first time smokers so you can get used to the cooking with an inexpensive cut of meat. I need some more practice before I get to Beef Brisket. Maybe some ribs next time.

    Classic rookie mistakes?
  11. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    With pork butt, temp is one measure of doneness, you should get bone in to help you test it out. If that bone slides out nice n easy, It's done.

    The reason you had to use so much coal is because the Brinkman's use a cheap, light gauge of steel. Light steel = no heat retention = lots of coals to maintain temp. A good thermometer would be a good investment too. In the meantime you can try calibrating yours using ice water and boiling water to see what kind of readings it gives you.

    Brisket is every bit as forgiving as pork butt and just as cheap. Probably takes longer to finish though as it's a *tough* cut of meat, hence smoking and braising being the only two methods that'll get you a tender brisket.

    The heavy smoke flavor probably comes from burning wood at the end. Burning lots of wood is going to impart an acrid smoke flavor to the meat.
  12. Keifer

    Keifer Active Member

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    I wrap the meat in foil after 3-4 hours on the smoker. You don't want too much smoke in the meat. Also if I dont have the time to babysit the smoker all day I will pull it off and throw it in the oven when I think I have enough smoke in it. I know its cheating but if I had to wait until I had 12 hours of free time to cook I'd never get any good bbq.
  13. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    Beef Brisket up here is significantly more expensive than Pork Butt. I was really surprised. Never again will I smoke Pork Butt. I did not like it honestly. I also like Beef Ribs over Pork but those are hard to find here as well.

    So how should I increase the temperature of the smoker? Keep adding charcoal lumps? that's what I did. When I ran out all I added was wood. When it hit 300 degrees today once it had a huge amount of charcoal but that was not consistent either. It dropped soon enough quickly.
  14. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    I had to do that because after carving it, it just did not seem done. There's no way I could have made pulled pork with the end product. What are some other good meats to smoke that don't have nearly as much fat as pork butt? Brisket, chicken, turkey, sausage is all I can think of right now.
  15. tantrix1969

    tantrix1969 Well-Known Member

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    First thing I would do is get a tube of hightemp rtv sealant and go around any seams to stop leakage, another thing is to raise the charcoal grate in the firebox up a couple inches above the air intake and use a expanded metal charcoal basket(easily made will find link in a minute). Other than that making a tuning plate for bottom of smoker area(or fire bricks work ok)make a world of difference for even heating throughout the whole grill area

    /edit-detailed instructions for charcoal basket(post #5)
    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/89763/just-got-a-new-braunfels-vertical-smoker
  16. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler Zone Supporter

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    It looks good for your first try. I only use wood and it is easy to control the smoky flavor. First off, control the temp by controlling the air movement like someone mentioned above. If you did and still insufficient, maybe your coals were too far away or wood too wet? Sealing any imperfections is a good idea too.

    As for the smokey flavor, ya used too much mesquite and hickory by the sound of it. You will go through a lot of wood, especially for brisket's and pork buts. After xx amount of hours, wrap it in foil to prevent over-smoking. Injecting the meat(pork butt) is another good way to instill more flavor.

    If you really could not get past 200 deg., then all you missed was wrapping it in foil and letting it cook longer to render the fat out. I suspect ya needed a few more hours at least.

    That is the beauty of BBQing, you learn each time you smoke and only get better over time.
  17. chip_gilkey

    chip_gilkey Active Member

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    Honestly, it sounds as though you either got some bad butt or didnt let the fat render enough during the cook, i.e. took it off before it was done. I've never had any issues with excessive fat or tough meat on the pork butt unless I undercooked it. That is why it is so important to get bone-in butts. when you are able to pull the bone out with 2 fingers without using any muscle at all then its done, never before that point.

    I would strongly encourage you to try pork butt again, this time ensuring to not use so much wood and cooking it to this done point. Pork butt is about as ubiquitous in smoking as you can get. Everyone smokes them and usually you always come out with a good product, cheap too. There will always be some fat but if you cook it till its actually done you should be able to easily separate it. When I cook mine after they're done I can just put a thick insulated rubber glove on, press down on the butt, and it literally smashes into shreds because its so tender and the fat naturally separates.
  18. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    There was a bone in it but there was no way for me to find it, nonetheless pull it out lol. I really do think it wasn't done. I was extremely disappointed with the result but even more with the smoker I bought myself. Take a look. Should I make a case to return it? Keep in mind- this was after ONE use!

    [IMG] [IMG] [IMG] [IMG] [IMG]
  19. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    I would absolutely try to return it. Tell them exactly what happened. I'm betting it's not the first one that someone will have returned to the store. You can get a Weber smoker for the same price and you're going to be a lot happier with it. You can also look around on craigslist and see if anyone is getting rid of a smoker.
  20. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    So I called them today and they can return it! Really glad about it. I've been hearing so much about the Weber Smokey Mountain. It must be one of the best? I may just go with that. I prefer offset smokers but finding any GOOD offset smokers must cost upwards of $500. Not too fond on electric but it must be convenient. Looks like I'll be switching to the Weber Smokey Mountain now!

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